Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Catch Up

Just for Ashley; a catch up post since it's been all poems all the time this month...

A. I am making good progress on the first draft of the new novel (working title: The Tornado Year). I have organized it in a fashion entirely new to me. I was struggling with what felt like the same ole same ole set up when I started reading a book that changed how I think about storytelling. I try to post what I am reading each Friday, via Twitter. On one particular friday, I did so and won a book. Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman. The writing in her novel is exquisite. It reminded me of why I love to write so much. Charles Baudelaire said, "Always be a poet, even in prose," and that is what Ms. Hassman did with Girlchild. A lightbulb flashed in my brain. Why have I been divorcing who I am as a poet from who I am as a novelist? Not that I am writing the book in poetic form, but I am trusting my instinct in a way I never have before. I hope that bodes well for this book's success somewhere down the line.

B. My teeth have, for the last few years, began a revolt. Currently, one of my back teeth is trying to crawl into my brain and devour my flesh from the inside out. It is, needless to say, quite painful. I saw my dentist today, and he referred me to a specialist for this root canal, because the roots are curved. The appointment is NEXT WEEK, so I am stuck with this traitorous tooth for a while longer. I have antibiotics and pain pills. The pain pills do not seem to be doing much. I swallow one and it settles into my stomach where it makes me feel slightly sick and then proceeds to ignore the excruciating pain I have sent it to kill. All in all, a very bad assassin. 

C. We took care of newborn kittens today. I christened them Fred and George, since they were gingers. I hope whoever ends up with them keeps their names. But, most of the world won't catch the reference. Silly muggles. Their mommy had abandoned them, so I bottle-fed them and cuddled them and am currently wearing their poop. It was just like having human babies again.

D. My youngest has a stomach bug. I discovered him asleep on the couch when I came downstairs at four this morning. Yes. Four. See explanation B. There is probably a trip to the doctor in our future.

E. Corey was part of a wedding last weekend. It is surreal, all of these kids getting married. KIDS. Well, they were kids when we met them. It makes me feel a bit old, all these weddings. Corey also got to spend a few hours with Savannah, while he was in Alabama. He was thrilled. They spent the majority of the time just talking. She is growing up so fast. Just one more year and she will be a TEENAGER.

F. We are taking baby steps on a healthy eating journey. I made homemade yogurt pops with real fruit in them last night. I also cooked a meal with Quinoa. It wasn't bad. I am not 100% sold on it, but I will definitely try a couple more recipes with it. I have been cooking more veggies and eating more raw fruit. I am also letting them finish the last of their granola bars and then switching them entirely to healthy snack options. I am keeping nuts in the house, and I am watching the clearance shelves at Kroger in an effort to try new things for less money. We will be testing Haydn for food sensitivities. The test came in the mail today, but I am waiting for Corey. Pricking my own kid's finger makes me nervous. 

G. Speaking of G, my new BFF is G. K. Chesterton. A Chesterton scholar spoke at Corey's seminary and my lovely husband brought me books. I had heard of GK. Actually, upon further research, I realized a ton of my favorite quotes are attributed to him. I started reading his essays, and the very first one was about optimism... relentless optimism, which immediately put me in mind of Elizabeth Esther and the shirt I won from her blog. I have to admit, I had almost quit reading Christian books. Most of what I have picked up bores me. I realize that makes me sound very arrogant, and I don't intend to be. I just felt like I was sipping a bottle when I really wanted steak. GK? He's steak. A big beefy cut of the best steak I have ever eaten. I wish he were alive, so I could be his stalker and then we could be best friends, and we would write letters and wear those half-heart Best Friend necklaces. Cause I love him. A lot.

H. I am feeling queasy now. Stupid pain meds. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I'm Not Tired of Jesus

I'm not tired of Jesus.
A few weeks ago,
I thought maybe I was,
maybe I was having
a crisis of faith,
but I'm not.

I'm not tired of Jesus;
I'm tired of people,
the people who speak in
who repeat the same ideas
in new words
every little bit
of the time.

I'm worn-down-wearied-out
of love the sinner hate the sin
with no real evidence
of any love in
the first place.
I am finished
with the culture that has
sprouted from what was meant to be

Love God.
Love Neighbor.

Quit talking.
All of you, please,
quit talking.
Start loving.


That's the only poem
you need from me.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Poetry Game

Poetry Game!

Sometimes, to kick start my muse, I play poetry games. One of my favorites involves putting together a poem from book titles. I have done this in a library or a bookstore, but I have also done it from home. This time, I think I will pick one book title and then free write the rest of the poem.

If you join in, send me your link and I will post it.

I open my mouth
and petals blossom on my tongue.
Sweet smells lick you,
silken leaves flutter
from my eyes and you
cannot help yourself.
I speak the language
of letting go,
of burying our dead and
harvesting life from their graves.
I speak the language of flowers 
growing strong and 
thickly scented,
stretching to the sun,
already knowing
they are beautiful.
I speak the language
of us.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

How God Felt

You just cannot replicate
The heft of an infant
Curled into sleep.
It isn't just the weight of them,
But also the warm skin
And the beating of a tiny heart
So close to yours.
Is this how God felt
Holding onto


Sunday, April 1, 2012

If I Cannot Offer my Hands

I turned from the screen,
from the actor depicting Jesus
and the gruesome condition of his
body, slain.
I veered across the room
with my eyes,
and what I saw was a sea
of well-dressed people.
I saw hair dyed and done,
my own included.
I saw pretty shoes and
diamond rings and
maybe even a little
hint of desperation
in a few sets of eyes,

I looked then
back to Jesus on the screen
and on the cross,
and I felt anew the total
incongruence of us.
What do the choices I make
each day say
about that moment on the cross when
Christ asked his God
why he had been forsaken?
What do my brownies and ice cream dinners,
my collection of shoes I seldom wear,
my addiction to diet soda and
funky t-shirts...
what does my life say
about his life?

I said to the one beating
inside my chest,
the one timing it's pumping
to the sound of a hammer falling
long ago on ancient nails,
Heart, I said,
we don't look anything like
I would expect us to look
had we truly made our way
to Calvary,
truly knelt at his pierced feet and wept
with his mother as she tried
to understand the reasons God
had, in those last hours,
forsaken her son
and her self.

If I cannot look at life
through the lens of Mary's eyes,
through the blood of Jesus Christ,
through the curtain torn asunder
and the quaking of the ground...
If I cannot speak through tongues of fire,
offer drink to those who thirst,
hear the sound of hammer blows
and know
that the hammer's in my hand...
If I cannot hear what He heard,
the answer to his query,
that moment when he asked,
why have you forsaken me...
If I cannot offer my hands
in place of the ones
He stretched out for me,
then what am I doing here
at all?

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